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Page:Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management.djvu/2112

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1902
HOUSEHOLD MANAGEMENT

trifle, otherwise a spirit of cowardice and timidity is encouraged. But she must take care that such accidents are not of frequent occurrence, or the result of neglect. The nurse should keep the child as clean as possible, training it, in particular, in cleanly habits, so that it feels uncomfortable when not clean; and she must watch especially that it does not soil itself in eating. At the same time, vanity in its personal appearance is not to be encouraged by over-care in this direction, or by too tight lacing or buttoning of dresses, nor a small foot cultivated by the use of tight shoes.

Nursemaids would do well to repeat to the parents faithfully and accurately the defects they observe in the dispositions of very young children. If properly checked in time, evil propensities may be eradicated; but this should not extend to anything but serious defects; otherwise, the intuitive perceptions which all children possess will construe the act into "spying" and "informing," which should never be resorted to in the case of children, nor, indeed, in any case. Such are the cares which devolve upon the nurse, and it is her duty to fulfil them personally. In large establishments she will have assistance proportioned to the number of children of which she has the care. The under nursemaid lights the fires, sweeps, scours, and dusts the rooms, and makes the beds, empties slops and carries up water, brings up and removes the nursery meals, washes and dresses all the children, except the infant, and assists in mending. Where there is a nursery girl to assist, she does the rougher part of the cleaning; and all take their meals in the nursery together, after the children of the family have finished. In higher families the upper nurse is usually permitted to sup or dine occasionally at the housekeeper's table by way of relaxation, when the children are all well, and her subordinates trustworthy.

The Single Nursemaid.—In smaller families, where only one nurse-maid is kept, she is assisted by the housemaid or general servant, who will do the rougher part of the work and carry up the nursery meals. In such circumstances she will be more immediately under the eye of her mistress, who will probably relieve her from some of the cares of the infant.

Baths for children should be given according to age and constitution. Some require warm baths and suffer from the effect of cold water, while with other children the cold agrees perfectly. A tepid bath is the one most generally suitable. Young children should have their bath in the morning, and if they are under two years may take it after their first meal. A child should never be given a hot bath in a very cold room, and thorough drying after bathing is of great importance.

Children's Complaints.—Where the nurse has the entire charge of the nursery, and the mother is too much occupied to do more than pay a daily visit, it is desirable that the nurse should be an observant woman, possessing some acquaintance with the diseases incident to